A Very Lucky Wocky
Yinna was tired of being an only Neopet. True, there were plusses; she had loads of marvellous toys and Battledome equipment that she would otherwise have to share. But now, in her cosy Neohome, as she sat at the coconut glass table and gazed into the red brick fireplace, she couldn’t help feeling... lonely.
The Wocky sighed and got up to look out of the colourful snowy window. Other Neopets were playing out in the platinum brilliance of a sunny winter day. A Xweetok and a Poogle were laughing and rolling joyously beneath the Money Tree, snatching at a red bouncy ball. Two Pteris were zipping freely through the air, dipping swiftly down to steal a sip from the Soup Faerie, and taking off again...
If only Yinna could be free, too.
But she had to stay indoors and practise for her Battledome fight tomorrow. There were five books she hadn’t read yet, either. Yoyote was out buying a gourmet meal and would be disappointed if she came back to find that Yinna hadn’t read a single book. Yinna couldn’t let her owner down, not after everything that Yoyote had done for her.
There were times when she protested, for sure. Just yesterday she refused to read two of the books that Yoyote had bought for her. And once she had sulked for weeks and weeks, regardless of the luxurious Neolodge vacation that Yoyote had given her.
Still, she had a right to throw tantrums, didn’t she? It wasn’t fair to expect her to be so goody-goody all the time. Not when the other Neopets were having such a good time...
“That’s it!” Yinna cried aloud, making for the door. “I’m going to have FUN for once. I won’t read a single book today, I won’t practise a single Battledome move, I’ll just play and play till Kreludor comes up!”
Her decision made, she leapt out of her Neohome, running so fast that the ground seemed to glide away under her sure paws. She felt light as an Air Faerie, free... the world became a blur of rainbow excitement around her. She could scarcely believe she was doing this!
She stopped, breathless, and found herself in front of the Money Tree. The Xweetok and the Poogle stopped playing to stare curiously at her.
“Hello,” Yinna said nervously, approaching them. “My name is Yinna.”
“I can tell,” the Poogle replied carelessly.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re that spoiled Wocky, aren’t you?” the Poogle’s voice was nasty. “I see Yoyote bring you into the toy shop practically every week.”
“You get to stay in the Neolodge, too,” the Xweetok added. “I saw you enjoying your spa.”
Yinna looked down at her rich, well-groomed fur. “You don’t understand,” she said softly. “I don’t want to show off or anything... I mean, I didn’t choose to be an only Neopet. I just... thought I’d come and make some friends. But if you don’t want to play with me, I guess I’ll...” She turned away dejectedly.
The Xweetok and the Poogle exchanged uneasy glances. Then the Xweetok went bravely up to Yinna and said, “Look, I’m sorry. We weren’t being mean on purpose. It’s just... well, are you sure you want to play with us?” She gestured meaningfully towards the dirty bouncy ball.
“I told you she’s too uppity to mess up her beautiful fur.” The Poogle’s eyes sparkled darkly at his sister.
The Xweetok ignored him.
Finally Yinna spoke up shyly. “I’d love to join you, but I don’t know how to play. Could you teach me?”
The other two Neopets gasped in surprise. “You don’t know how to play ball?” the Poogle asked incredulously.
“Don’t tease her,” the Xweetok admonished. “It’s not her fault.” Turning to Yinna, she said, “It’s simple, really. Driw and I normally just snatch it from each other, but now that you’ve come, we could play a more interesting game. Why don’t we toss the ball to each other while Driw tries to intercept it?”
“Hey, that’s not fair!” the Poogle protested. “You should be the one in the middle, Rulti.”
“Okay, okay, whatever.” Rulti laughed. “But once I get the ball, whoever threw it will have to get in the middle.”
And so Yinna found herself playing with Driw and Rulti, screaming and rolling around cheerily just like any ordinary Neopet. Her fur got dirty, but she didn’t care; she had friends, her heart was dancing, and that was all that mattered.
All too soon night descended upon Neopia, and Kreludor sailed up dreamily into the sky. Yinna looked up, panting. “Oh no!” she exclaimed suddenly. “My owner will be so worried! I left home without permission... I must be getting back.” She gave Rulti a big hug, much to the Xweetok’s surprise. “Thank you, Rulti, thank you, Driw, you gave me so much more than I could ever hope to repay. I hope to see you again soon.”
“Next time,” said Driw, unabashedly, “next time when we play, do you mind bringing some toys of your own?”
Yinna smiled. “Of course I’ll bring them!” And she skipped off merrily in the direction of her Neohome.
Rulti watched her disappear and sighed. “She’s a nice Wocky, really. I didn’t think those pampered Neopets could be so, well, un-pampered.”
“Yeah,” said Driw. “Let’s go home now, before it gets too dark.”
Yoyote opened the door. “Yinna! Where have you been? I looked everywhere... What have you done to your fur?”
“I went out and played,” Yinna confessed. “Oh, I have so much to tell you, Yoyote!”
“Come in and let’s talk.”
At home, by the colourful snowy window, Yinna poured out her true feelings to her owner for the first time in years. Yoyote listened, quietly. “That was the happiest time of my life,” Yinna finished. “I’ve found friends, at last! Can I go play with them again tomorrow? Please?”
Yoyote smiled. “Sure you can. You should have told me all this earlier, Yinna. You know I love you and would hate to make you sad. Next time, tell me before you go running off like that. I wouldn’t stop you!”
Yinna blushed. “Sorry.”
“I must say sorry to you, too,” said Yoyote, stroking Yinna’s head gently. “I heaped too many expectations on you. I tried to make you happy by buying you toys... but I should’ve known what I was ultimately depriving you of. We weren’t honest with each other, Yinna.”
Neopet and owner stood together in the warmth of their Neohome. Outside the night glittered. It was a magical moment.
“Well, everything’s all right now,” said Yoyote at last. “You’ll need a good hot bubble bath to get all that dirt off you, and afterwards we’ll have a delicious gourmet dinner here in front of the fireplace. And tomorrow morning we could do something fun together. Oh, that reminds me, I’d better cancel that Battledome fight, hadn’t I?” She winked at her Neopet.
“Thank you, Yoyote.” Yinna hugged her owner gratefully.
That night, there was a lovely fire flickering in the red brick fireplace. As the Wocky sat at the coconut glass table with her owner, she felt safe, warm, and loved. In short, she had never felt luckier.